IndyCar

Emotional Josef Newgarden says he ‘failed his team miserably’ with DQ; apologizes for ’embarrassing’ IndyCar

Emotional Josef Newgarden says he 'failed his team miserably' with DQ; apologizes for 'embarrassing' IndyCar

In a highly emotional news conference, Josef Newgarden both accepted full blame for actions that led to his IndyCar victory at St. Petersburg being disqualified while also steadfastly defending his commitment to being truthful.

"It’s really important to look at the facts of what happened," Newgarden said with his voice quavering numerous times in the Barber Motorsports Park media center Friday morning ahead of NTT IndyCar Series practice (3:40 p.m. ET, Peacock). "The facts are extremely clear. There’s no doubt we were in breach of the rules at St. Pete. I used push to pass twice at an unauthorized time on two different restarts.

"Those are the rules and we did not adhere to them. There’s only one person sitting in the car. It’s just me. It’s my responsibility to know the rules and regulations at all points and make sure I get that right with that regard, I failed my team miserably. I failed completely to get that right. You can’t make a mistake like that at this level in that situation. There’s no room for it. I don’t want to hide from that. It’s an embarrassing situation to have to go through. It’s demoralizing in a lot of ways. There’s nothing I can say that changes the fact of what happened. It’s pretty clear. I think the facts are most important that’s what really matters. I also think the truth is really important. There can be space for both those things."

Newgarden had to pause to compose himself when asked by NBCSporst.com freelance writer Bruce Martin about how this would affect him entering the 108th Indy 500 next month as the race's defending winner. "I'm still excited," he said.

The two-time IndyCar champion also deeply apologized "to fans, teammates, partners, anybody I’ve raced against in our community. I’ve worked very hard in my career to maintain those standards, and I’ve fallen very short of that in this respect.

But the Team Penske star also defended his honor from those who said he pushed the button knowingly. Team Penske has maintained since the penalty was announced Wednesday that their trio of drivers had access to the overtake button (which supplies an extra 50 horsepower) because of an honest mistake and oversight. Team president Tim Cindric told the Indy Star that it was a coding error.

Teammate Scott McLaughlin also was disqualified for using the push to pass button during the St. Pete race. Penske driver Will Power was docked 10 points for having access to the overtake but not using it.

"Call me every name in the book," Newgarden said. "Call me stupid, incompetent. But I’m not a liar. The story is too convenient to be believable. … The truth is easy. It's so easy to just tell the truth."

THIS STORY WILL BE UPDATED

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